Morels are a hot commodity around here, selling for anywhere from $30-$60 a pound, depending on the year. So those who are lucky enough to find them consider them a real treat. My mom can remember her dad bringing back paper grocery bags full of them when she was kid. They would feast on them for a week. I feel very fortunate that my husband and his dad like to hunt them because it is no easy task. Usual hunting grounds don't necessarily produce any the following year and morels are very difficult to spot. And you do have to be careful about picking the right ones as there is a false morel that is poisonous. Plus, there are many psychedelic mushrooms out there. With my luck, I'd probably pick the one of the psychedelic ones!
Preparing these edible delights is a breeze. First, I halve them. Then, they must be soaked in salt water to kill any of the little bugs that tag along. Their spongy interiors can harbor quite a few little bugs.
After they've soaked the appropriate amount of time, I simply dip them in a beaten egg mixture and coat them in seasoned breadcrumbs. My mom prefers to dip them in coarsely crushed crackers, which is how we had them when I was growing up. That is also very tasty, but I prefer breadcrumbs for ease. Most morel lovers I know like to saute them in butter and that's what my family has always done (no one said these were good for your waistline!). Whatever you do, don't use shortening/Crisco! One year long ago, my dear husband tried to surprise me by making these for lunch and he used Crisco. It was very thoughtful of him but unfortunately, they were inedible. Henceforth, I have been the one to prepare them, which is just as well since my husband and the kitchen don't really mix.
I saute them until they are nicely browned. It doesn't take long, so I don't step away from the stovetop. And here they are—a plateful of golden goodness! I'm usually a very slow eater (ask my friends and they'll tell you I am always the last one to finish eating when we're out) but I must admit I can clear a plate of these in about five minutes. I guess it's a good thing they're only around for a couple weeks!
Although they are somewhat crispy on the outside, their interior is very tender. They have a flavor like nothing else. I can't begin to describe it. It's not your typical mushroom flavor.
Even my cat Teddy can't resist these woodland wonders. Look at him go for it! Oh, to be a cat in our household! Isn't he spoiled?!